ICOA was founded in 2001 by local writers to provide refuge for colleagues whose works are suppressed, whose lives are threatened, whose cultures are vanishing, or whose languages are endangered. A long-time partner, Ithaca officially joined ICORN in 2015.
ICOA is an all-volunteer project of the Center for Transformative Action. Supported by individual donations, small grants, and assistance from Ithaca College and Cornell University, it is one of two U.S. members of ICORN, whose 73 members include Paris, Berlin, Barcelona, Stockholm, Pittsburgh and Mexico City.
Residents have come from Nicaragua, China, Iran, Swaziland, Republic of Georgia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan. They have included poets, playwrights, essayists, fiction writers and journalists. ICOA’s sixth ICORN- resident, Pakistani journalist Raza Rumi, now directs the Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College.